Meet our Herb of the Week: Panax Notoginseng

Ginseng is one of Chinese Medicine’s most notable herbs. It is used in many formulas and depending on the variety can be either warm or cooling in nature. The variety we’ll look at this week is Panax Notoginseng aka Pseudoginseng, SanQi or TianQi.

Notoginseng is considered warming and is known to break up blood stasis and promote circulation. Because of this Notoginseng can be used to reduce swelling on soft-tissues. Notoginseng can be taken both internally and externally, however we use it only for external purposes. It’s preparation can be fresh whole, dried whole, sliced or ground into powder.

Notoginseng may also be used to stop bleeding, and so it is the main ingredient in Yunnan Baiyao, a very famous formula used by TCM practitioners. And historically used in severe bleeding situations like found on a battlefield.

If you’re feeling like taking it internally for circulation issues, you can boil it along with a soup, or grate it into a tea. However, we do warn that because it’s warming in nature, it might not be good for everybody. If you have any medical conditions, please check with your Chinese medicine practitioner/herbalist to see if it’s right for you.

Ginseng has long been one of Chinese medicine’s stars and will be right at the top of common herbs used. It’s in our anti-inflammation formula and will certainly be on our favorites list for a long time.

Here is the introduction of an interesting article on Ginseng varieties.

The roots of Panax ginseng (PG), Panax quinquefolium (PQ), and Panax notoginseng (PN) are used as the popular traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Ren-Shen, Xiyang-Shen, and San-Qi, respectively1. Chemical compositions of the three species are very similar. Nonetheless, PG, PQ and PN are considered to possess different properties in TCM theory and thus exhibit different therapeutic functions. PG has the “warm” property and is a good invigorator; PQ is “cool” and is thus capable of heat-clearing and refreshing;2 PN is mainly used to dispel stasis and stop bleeding. These functional varieties may originate from the difference in chemical composition, particularly in the bioactive triterpenoid saponins, popularly known as ginsenosides1. However, chemical difference among the three Panax species has not been fully clarified thus far. In addition, the market prices differ remarkably among the Panax species (for instance, between PG and PQ), and among the same species of different production areas (for instance, PQ cultivated in China and North America).
Identification and differentiation of Panax ginseng, Panax quinquefolium, and Panax notoginseng by monitoring multiple diagnostic chemical markers
Author Wenzhi Yang, Xue Qiao, Kai Li, Jingran Fan, Tao Bo, De-an Guo, Min Ye

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